10 Important facts about birth control you need to know

It is estimated that around 60% of all women in most western countries use birth control and, of those, by far the majority use an oral contraception. Experts agree that the most effective and the safest forms of birth control are intrauterine devices (IUDs), oral contraceptives and skin patches. Since the 1960’s the choices that are available of different birth control has increased and the effectiveness of them has increased too, but how much do you really know about the birth control method that you use? Other than a very quick chat with your doctor, before he or she writes out a prescription for you, most women get very little information about birth control, so here are ten facts about birth control you need to know, and some of them might surprise you.

1. Birth control pills are only effective if you take them consistently

A birth control pill is only effective if it is taken daily, without skipping a single day. A massive 43% of unplanned pregnancies are reported to have been due to people not following the prescription properly. Even the time of day that you take your pill can impact on its effectiveness.

2. The pill does not protect you against STD’s

Rather surprisingly, there are still a lot of people that believe that birth control pills will also protect them against contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). This, of course, is completely untrue; the only contraception method that will provide protection against disease is an old fashioned condom.

3. Intrauterine devices are the most effective

Intrauterine devices (IUD’s) have been proven to be the most effective form of birth control and they have been estimated at being 20 times more effective than the birth control pill or patches. The main reason for their effectiveness is that it removes the possibility of human error, such as forgetting to take a pill.

4. Being on the pill does not have to mean that a girl is sexually active

This is an unimportant message for some, misguided parents of teenage daughters; the birth control pill can be prescribed for many other reasons than birth control. It can be used to make periods more regular and it can be prescribed to ease cramps during menstruation. It does not always mean that the person is currently sexually active.

5. The birth control pill is not effective immediately

Birth control pills can take anything up to two months to become effective, so if you are new to taking the pill, you need to be extra careful for some time after taking the first one. This also applies if you are switching between one type of pill and another.

6. The birth control pill is unlikely to cause weight gain

While early versions of the birth control pill did used to cause many women to gain weight, the more modern versions do not. When birth control pills first came on to the market, they contained higher doses of hormones than the modern ones do, and todays pills are very unlikely to cause weight gain.

7. Other medications can stop the birth control working

You do need to check with your doctor before you start taking any other medications at the same time as a birth control pill, because certain types of medication can reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control. Antidepressants, anti-fungal medications and some antibiotics, are just a few examples of medication that can stop the birth control pill working properly.

8. There will, one day, be a male birth control pill

Although no one can put a date on when it will be, research is being conducted into a male birth control pill. Research is ongoing into both hormonal and non-hormonal male birth control pills, but a safe and reliable solution is still expected to be some years off yet.

9. Every pill has side effects

Birth control pills do have their side effects and those side effects vary between different pills and between different women. Some women experience no side effects at all, but it is important to talk to your doctor and work with them to find the particular pill that suits you the best.

10. Taking the pill will not make you infertile

It is nothing more than a myth that taking a birth control pill for an extended amount of time is bad for you, or that it will make you infertile. Tests have been conducted on women who have been taking the pill ever since the early 1960’s and no ill effects have been recorded.

Do you know other facts about birth control?

Stay healthy!

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